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Archive for the ‘Upside-Down Drawing’ Category

updrip2

This painting actually preceded the one you saw in the last post.  This composition consists primarily of vertical lines with horizontals making only a tentative entrance. Compared to the later painting, Up-drip, Side-drip, this one looks like an investigation. An exciting investigation, to be sure.  All art is an investigation.

Because the drips in this version are fewer and don’t rush to the opposite edge, they appear to meander like branches. As up-drips they appear to sprout skyward, suggesting organic forms.  We don’t get that illusion in the later Up-drip, Side-drip  where the drips read like straight lines drawn with a nicked ruler.

These two paintings appear to promise a series—further investigations.  Who knows where the grid will lead us, how the drips will rush or meander and…we haven’t even talked about those circles yet.

Notice, when the drips actually drip like drips, your mind wanders to more literalness, as in “what’s this red stuff dripping here, where am I and what do these other colors represent?” Literalness is not so interesting, is it.

updrip2-copy

Veronica Sax, painting in acrylic on canvas, 30″ x 30,” early November 2016

All contents copyright (C) 2010 Katherine Hilden. All rights reserved.

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updrip1

Dripping paint on a canvas conveys the feeling of immediacy and urgency, doesn’t it.  It’s as if you were standing next to the artist while she was painting and you were witnessing the physicality of this gooey substance in its tug with gravity.

Now, paint drips down, not up.  I say that, because we often turn a canvas upside-down to see if that view will work better or, at least, what the new view will teach us.  When a drip is seen upside-down, it may work and it may not.  If the dripping paint is thick, it most often will look disturbing when seen upside down. If the dripping paint is highly diluted and therefore thin, it will run down fast and in a fairly straight line all the way to the bottom edge of the canvas.  It will read primarily as a straight line and only on closer inspection will you see that it’s actually a drip. It will read as a straight line even when the canvas is turned upside-down.

This kind of double take tickles the mind.

The brushstrokes and color blotches look random.  And, certainly, the drips by their very nature are random. But notice, the composition is severely rectilinear.  Notice also, that in the painting process the canvas was rotated more than once: sideways drips.   It’s the coexistence of this grid effect with the drippy-splashy-rubbing paint that makes for deep drama.  We like drama.

The drips obeying gravity—as they were created in the first place—look less exiting.  Or do they?

updrip1-copy

Veronica Sax, painting in acrylic on canvas, 30” x 30,” November 2016

All contents copyright (C) 2010 Katherine Hilden. All rights reserved.

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16openmouthphotoBecause this is an unfamiliar angle, the artist/student thought she’d better tackle it upside-down.  That’s because she didn’t trust herself to draw what’s really there; she would instead be tempted to “correct” the face and make it look more “normal.” Drawing upside-down helps you see shapes as shapes, not as labeled familiar things, and if you just stick to that program, lo and behold, everything will fall into place.

16openmouth

The photo is taken from the Wine Project by Marcos Alberti.

http://www.masmorrastudio.com/wine-project

I highly recommend these photos for students to draw from.

https://artamaze.wordpress.com/2012/04/12/upside-down-drawing/

https://artamaze.wordpress.com/2016/10/02/drawing-sculpture/

https://artamaze.wordpress.com/2012/06/14/up-side-down-face/

https://artamaze.wordpress.com/2012/04/13/drawing-on-the-right-side-of-the-brain-by-betty-edwards/

https://artamaze.wordpress.com/2016/09/30/ptolemy-in-ulm/

Drawing by Mary Petty, graphite on paper, ~ 14 x 11

16openmouthusdphoto 16openmouthusd

All contents copyright (C) 2010 Katherine Hilden. All rights reserved.

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michelangelodrawusd

More precisely, drawing from photos of sculpture.

michelangeloupsidedownIf you think of drawing as translating, then drawing from sculpture is easier than drawing from life, because the sculptor has already done the half the work for you. He or she has simplified the forms for you.

Taking this a step further, drawing from a photo of a sculpture means that two-thirds of the work has been done for you.  The photo takes the additional step of flattening the three-dimension orm into two and two dimensions is where your drawing functions.   Piece o’ cake.

Well, no, not exactly simple.  You still have to get over naming what you’re drawing because naming—the whole verbal mode—gets in the way. To that end, we turn things upside-down.  And to turn a Michelangelo sculpture up-side-down, it’s really handy to have a photo of michelangelodrawingthe humongous thing, especially if the original is in Florence.

Drawing by Jeanne Mueller, graphite on paper, ~14” x 11”

michelangelo-tomb-lorenzomichelangelo

Michelangelo Buonarotti, 1475-1564.  The Medici Chapel, 1520-1534

https://artamaze.wordpress.com/2012/04/13/drawing-on-the-right-side-of-the-brain-by-betty-edwards/

https://artamaze.wordpress.com/2016/09/30/ptolemy-in-ulm/

All contents copyright (C) 2010 Katherine Hilden. All rights reserved.

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jeanneptolomyupsidedown

jorgsyrlinptolomyupsidedownWhen I bring in photographs of figures or faces to draw, my students more often than not choose to draw upside-down.  This may seem counter-intuitive.  I must have been persuasive, about three years ago, when I presented Betty Edwards’ theory and research on the subject:  when you draw something upside down, you are able to disconnect your expectations and verbal labeling, allowing your brain to go into visual.  And then–ta-tah!–you actually see.

Yes, the drawing you see here was made as you see it, upside-down, from a photo that the artist/student was looking at, also upside-down.

jorgsyrlinptolomyjeanneptolomy

This is Ptolemy with is model of rotating heavenly spheres. He is one of the many historical and mythical figures that the sculptor Jörg Syrlin the Elder (1425 – 1491) carved out of oak for the choir stalls in the Ulm Minster, around 1470.

jorgsyrlinselfHere’s the sculptor, portraying himself at the end of a row of his figures, surveys his work.  These sculptures, btw, are perfectly preserved.  1470!  Very moving.

https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ulmer_M%C3%BCnster

Building on the Ulm Minster in Southern Germany was begun in 1399 and completed in 1890.

Drawing by Jeanne Mueller, graphite on paper, ~14″ x 11″

https://artamaze.wordpress.com/2012/04/13/drawing-on-the-right-side-of-the-brain-by-betty-edwards/

jorgsyrlinulmmuensterAll contents copyright (C) 2010 Katherine Hilden. All rights reserved.

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13StudioGallKaren

Now it’s my drawing students’ turn in the Studio Gallery.  There are thirty-three drawings on exhibit, grouped by artist.  The work stretches over a two year period. You’ll see a variety of styles, in both still life and head/figure studies. 

13StudioGalMaggyDrawing is an intimate medium. You can’t look at a drawing from across the room.  You have to get up close and personal.  This is the medium that gives you the feeling that you are entering another mind as it tries to grasp the complexities of perception. Drawing is closest to my heart.

13StudioGalLinneThanks to Cynthia Bold, Linné Dosé, Gabrielle Edgerton, Karen Gerrard, Ale Podestá, and Maggy Shell for submitting your work.  Thank you, Ale, for helping me with hanging the show and applying your good eye.

13StudioGallAleThe work is for sale, at negotiable prices.  The show closes Oct 27. 

13StudioGalGabyDrawings are hard to document by camera.  You’ll just have to come in and see.  Here’s the notice from the Evanston Art Center web site:

http://www.evanstonartcenter.org/exhibitions/sketches-studies-studio-gallery

All contents copyright (C) 2010 Katherine Hilden. All rights reserved.

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This is a sequel to the previous post. One student, Maggy, really got into the Up-Side-Down thing—meaning, the value of this approach really sunk in.  So much so, that when the Caravaggio exercise was done, she was the only one in the class to draw a face upside down from a photo.  In the process, she noticed how asymmetrical the face was and was delighted by this discovery.  When you’re drawing right-side-up it’s harder to notice such things because you tend to equalize, to perfect.  That’s a no-no!   The expressiveness and character in a face lies precisely in asymmetry.

Being all fired up by the Caravaggio exercise and then by drawing a face up-side-down, she then turned the magazine page right-side-up and drew the guy again.  This was easy now, because her seeing was “true” and it took her no time at all, with very impressive results.  It’s interesting to compare the two versions.  The second view of the face, with the photo placed right-side-up, didn’t look anything like the UPS photo drawn previously.  So, it’s not a case of doing the same thing twice, not at all.  What matters here is the ease with which the second drawing came about and that was the result of the nature of the exercise itself.

All contents copyright (C) 2010 Katherine Hilden. All rights reserved.

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